December 31, 2017

The Best of 2017


The Best of 2017

For our final TWERF of 2017, we look back and re-share some of our favorite stories from 2017. They may not be the most note-worthy or news-worthy stories, but we felt they were the most fun.

Because that is what TWERF is about: looking at the "lighter-side" of all things Russian (Lord knows the darker side has been well covered by others this year), to capture some of the odder, lesser-known bits of news seeping out of matyushka-Rus. We like to think that we've built something of an iconoclastic corner on offbeatedness (yes, we realize that is not a word). We may trip over the line sometimes into dark or un-PC humor, and we're sorry if we offend. We are trying our best to behave ourselves. Really.

TWERF's Three Favorite Stories of 2017

1. When you hear the words “mammoth hotel,” you might just think “really big.” But in a proposed development on the coast of Lake Baikal, a hotel will be built in the shape of a wooly mammoth skull. According to officials in the Republic of Buryatia, the “ethnic and historical flavor” of the structure will attract more tourists and boost investment in the region. Nature lovers who know the unique beauty of Baikal might disagree. Still, chances are you haven’t been to many hotel conferences hosted inside the enormous skull of an extinct animal.

2. Let them eat cheesecake—all 40,000 of them! Some cities' founding days mean fireworks and looking back at history. In Stavropol, it meant a 4.2-ton dessertIn honor of its 240th anniversary, Stavropol played host to the baking and consuming of the world’s largest cheesecake. The 2.3-meter confection earnedits spot in the Guinness Book of World Records, and thousands of Stavropol residents lined up to get a taste.

3. Many folks dream of traveling the globe. Apparently, so do polar bears. This bear-faced tourist has been from Tonga to Thailand, Ethiopia to Ecuador, but it’s his permanent habitat on Instagram that helped him taste the honey of fame. The man behind the mask is Elnar Mansurov, a Perm resident who has gained attention as a travel expert – and not just for his unconventional facewear, but also for his tipsabout traveling with bearly any money. If a bear can do it, anything’s pawsible.

Five Most Popular TWERFs of 2017

Here's what readers liked best this past year. Click on over, give them a read and see if you agree.

  1. Russia Youth Then and Now (May 25)
  2. The Biggest Cheesecake, The Artsiest Robot, and The Spaciest Station (September 28)
  3. Spying for Russia and Flying for Russia (October 5)
  4. Eating, Drinking, and Putin's New Look (August 10)
  5. Toxic Waste, Putin Farms, & Crazy Seals (July 6)
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Some of Our Books

The Little Golden Calf

The Little Golden Calf

Our edition of The Little Golden Calf, one of the greatest Russian satires ever, is the first new translation of this classic novel in nearly fifty years. It is also the first unabridged, uncensored English translation ever, and is 100% true to the original 1931 serial publication in the Russian journal 30 Dnei. Anne O. Fisher’s translation is copiously annotated, and includes an introduction by Alexandra Ilf, the daughter of one of the book’s two co-authors.
Marooned in Moscow

Marooned in Moscow

This gripping autobiography plays out against the backdrop of Russia's bloody Civil War, and was one of the first Western eyewitness accounts of life in post-revolutionary Russia. Marooned in Moscow provides a fascinating account of one woman's entry into war-torn Russia in early 1920, first-person impressions of many in the top Soviet leadership, and accounts of the author's increasingly dangerous work as a journalist and spy, to say nothing of her work on behalf of prisoners, her two arrests, and her eventual ten-month-long imprisonment, including in the infamous Lubyanka prison. It is a veritable encyclopedia of life in Russia in the early 1920s.
Murder and the Muse

Murder and the Muse

KGB Chief Andropov has tapped Matyushkin to solve a brazen jewel heist from Picasso’s wife at the posh Metropole Hotel. But when the case bleeds over into murder, machinations, and international intrigue, not everyone is eager to see where the clues might lead.
At the Circus

At the Circus

This wonderful novella by Alexander Kuprin tells the story of the wrestler Arbuzov and his battle against a renowned American wrestler. Rich in detail and characterization, At the Circus brims with excitement and life. You can smell the sawdust in the big top, see the vivid and colorful characters, sense the tension build as Arbuzov readies to face off against the American.
The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar

The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar

The fables of Ivan Krylov are rich fonts of Russian cultural wisdom and experience – reading and understanding them is vital to grasping the Russian worldview. This new edition of 62 of Krylov’s tales presents them side-by-side in English and Russian. The wonderfully lyrical translations by Lydia Razran Stone are accompanied by original, whimsical color illustrations by Katya Korobkina.
The Best of Russian Life

The Best of Russian Life

We culled through 15 years of Russian Life to select readers’ and editors’ favorite stories and biographies for inclusion in a special two-volume collection. Totalling over 1100 pages, these two volumes encompass some of the best writing we have published over the last two decades, and include the most timeless stories and biographies – those that can be read again and again.
Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

In this comprehensive, quixotic and addictive book, Edwin Trommelen explores all facets of the Russian obsession with vodka. Peering chiefly through the lenses of history and literature, Trommelen offers up an appropriately complex, rich and bittersweet portrait, based on great respect for Russian culture.
Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod is a mid-sized provincial city that exists only in Russian metaphorical space. It has its roots in Gogol, and Ilf and Petrov, and is a place far from Moscow, but close to Russian hearts. It is a place of mystery and normality, of provincial innocence and Black Earth wisdom. Strange, inexplicable things happen in Stargorod. So do good things. And bad things. A lot like life everywhere, one might say. Only with a heavy dose of vodka, longing and mystery.
The Latchkey Murders

The Latchkey Murders

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin is back on the case in this prequel to the popular mystery Murder at the Dacha, in which a serial killer is on the loose in Khrushchev’s Moscow...
Survival Russian

Survival Russian

Survival Russian is an intensely practical guide to conversational, colloquial and culture-rich Russian. It uses humor, current events and thematically-driven essays to deepen readers’ understanding of Russian language and culture. This enlarged Second Edition of Survival Russian includes over 90 essays and illuminates over 2000 invaluable Russian phrases and words.

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

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